U-rid: Russian County Fair?

Frequent commenter pc writes:

I’m doing some research on a relative of mine and she participated in a “U·rid”, which the papers described as a “replica of a Russian county fair”. In Googling around, in English and in my very limited Russian, I can’t find anything that would indicate what a “urid” actually is. Do you have any thoughts?

I am equally at a loss, so I turn to the Varied Reader in hopes of enlightenment.

And pc adds:

Additionally, this may be of interest to you and some readers: CeLCAR at Indiana University has finished Season 1 of their podcast exploring the languages and cultures of Central Asia. The host’s pronunciation is insufferable, but the experts she brings on are fun to listen to — many recite poems or sing songs demonstrating the various Turkic and Persian languages of the region.

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Yireid (יריד) is the Yiddish word for fair, borrowed from the Hebrew. The term is also used figuratively to mean tumult or uproar.

  2. Ah, so it’s not a Russian word at all — no wonder I wasn’t coming up with anything! Thanks very much.

  3. Thank you, S Leaf! The yireid in question was held at the Russian Orthodox synagogue, so that makes sense that they were referring to Russian-as-a-group, rather than Russian-as-a-language. While it is certainly no longer this way, the coterie of North Minneapolis synagogues were divided by place of origin until approximately the 1960s.

  4. >>Russian Orthodox synagogue

    Meaning a Jewish Orthodox synagogue for Jews from Russia, not “Russian Orthodox” synagogue, which is how I parsed it on the first pass 🙂

  5. Heh. Confusing terminology!

  6. About confusing terminology, does “Greek Orthodox” have a specific meaning in American English different from simply “Orthodox Christian”, because I’ve seen it applied to groups that are not Greek. Is it a holdover from Patriarchist vs. Exarchist from the 19th century?

    As a funny aside, Americans calling strained yogurt “Greek yogurt”? Yeah, I know, it started as a marketing thing, but it took me years to find out and caused lots of confusion. I though they literally meant yogurt from Greece, which is, in my experience, mostly the same as Bulgarian yogurt but blander, with less acidity: I assumed that’s the reason recipes for Greek dishes in English included lemon juice that are otherwise identical to the Bulgarian ones.

  7. In my experience, the “X” in X Orthodox refers to specifics of rite and liturgical language, not to the ethnicity of the followers. E.g. in Lebanon, both Greek and Syrian Orthodox believers normally are Arab speaking Lebanese, but parts of the liturgy are (or used to be) in Greek respectively Syriac, and there are differences in which patriarchs they are subordinated to, and maybe differences in rites.

  8. Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs and many other Slavic peoples were routinely referred to as Greek Orthodox despite having Slavic liturgical language since Saints Cyril and Methodius.

  9. SFReader: I do not want this discussion to turn into what I suspect you want it to. Please be civil. I have to go. It annoys me also, but please, be civil. I know you can, but at times you are not.

  10. AJP Crown says:

    Americans calling strained yogurt “Greek yogurt”? Yeah, I know, it started as a marketing thing…

    …by a Kurdish Turk called Hamdi Ukukaya who found that “Greek” yoghurt sold better than “Turkish” yoghurt even though he was a Turk, it was made by Turks, yoghurt is a Turkish word and the strained substance came to Greece (& Bulgaria) from Mesopotamia via Turkey. So in that way it’s like “Greek coffee”, baklava etc. Here in Norway, it’s sold both as Turkish Yoghurt in a red container or Greek Yoghurt in pale blue. Both have wrinkled smiling old men on the carton regardless of the producer, so perhaps making it is traditionally male-dominated.

  11. No, no. It was just an observation and I am not even annoyed.

    There are many worse things to be called in this world than a Greek.

    It’s nothing compared to Alexander Blok’s declaration on behalf of the Russian people that yes, we are Scythians and we are mightily proud of it…

  12. SFReader: I do not want this discussion to turn into what I suspect you want it to. Please be civil.

    Not sure what you mean. SFReader was just pointing out what is inarguably true, that Slavic Christians have often been called “Greek Orthodox,” something that used to confuse me. I see no incivility.

  13. Language Hat: SFReader is an OK guy, from what I’ve read on this blog and on Charlie’s, but he has a certain bias. It’s more about his comments there than here, I think. What he just said here said is my opinion also, only I would have phased it differently. I REALLY have to, I should have left 20 minutes ago, maybe I’ll comment though my phone later.

  14. David Marjanović says:

    “Greek coffee”?

    But then, Serbian nationalists are calling it “Serbian coffee” now…

  15. I thought everybody in the region called it by their own name. Serbian coffee, Bosnian coffee, Albanian coffee…

  16. Trond Engen says:

    My take is that if it’s your type of coffee, you just call it coffee. If it’s not yours, you’ll misnome it for somebody else. The Danish word for danish is wienerbrød.

  17. Who is Charlie?

  18. David Eddyshaw says:

    The one that causes double-takes for me is “Ethiopian Orthodox”, which is actually used for the ancient Monophysite church of that country.

    Of course, as GK Chesterton long ago pointed out, no genuine heretic (or schismatic) considers his beliefs anything other than completely orthodox. Other sorts of heretic are just play-acting, and unworthy of serious consideration.

  19. I think he means British SF writer Charlie Stross. He has a blog devoted to various topics – from impossibility of human space colonization to obscure rules of British parliamentary politics.

    I haven’t posted there for many years and I can’t be held responsible for other posters with SFReader nickname on that blog (obviously, it’s rather popular nickname there, Charlie’s Diary being an SF blog).

  20. I thought everybody in the region called it by their own name. Serbian coffee, Bosnian coffee, Albanian coffee…

    Is it the same thing which Russians call Turkish coffee?

  21. AJP Crown says:

    Yes, SF. Don’t forget I’m very, very old, almost as old as Language himself. Up until the 1970s in London you’d ask for a Turkish coffee at the end of your meal in a Greek restaurant, it was not unlike an espresso. Then – and I don’t remember the details, maybe there was a war, it might have been Cyprus – all of a sudden, you had to order Greek coffee. “No Turkish coffee. Only Greek coffee. Sorry.” Of course it was all the same to us Londoners, we felt lucky just not getting Nescafé, there may have been subtle differences but we were too naive to spot them.

  22. J.W. Brewer says:

    With the exception of the Armenians, pretty much all of the groups traditionally called monophysite (they sometimes these days prefer miaphysite, which is a very subtle semantic difference if it’s any difference at all, but there’s the Euphemism Treadmill for you) self-identify as capital-O Orthodox. Not that the Armenians think themselves heterodox, but they seem less likely to use the actual capitalized word (at least in English, and I assume this tracks a difference in L1 usage) in the names of their parish churches and other ecclesiastical institutions. I think I’ve heard as an anecdote (but not fact-checked really hard) that the convenient label “Oriental Orthodox” to refer to those churches while distinguishing them from the “Eastern Orthodox” (i.e. those churches fully on board w/ Chalcedon et seq.) was first created by some Anglican bureaucrat trying to keep the correspondence files of the Archbishop of Canterbury organized in a way calculated to minimize the risk of gaffes. Because the rather arbitrary Eastern v. Oriental distinction was innovated in English, I don’t know if it’s shared by other languages.

  23. Cuconnacht says:

    The term “Byzantine coffee” has also been used by Greeks or Greek-Americans.

  24. David Marjanović says:

    My take is that if it’s your type of coffee, you just call it coffee.

    In Serbia it used to be called Turkish coffee (turska kava).

    the exception of the Armenians

    Apparently they prefer “Armenian Apostolic”…

    “Byzantine coffee”

    …Oh dear.

  25. Never encountered “Serbian coffee” either in Serbia or Republika Srpska. I mean in an actual cafe – I guess it wouldn’t surprise me to see it in like a nationalist op-ed. Partly because kafa (SR)/kava (CR)/kahva (BS) is already understood to mean Turkish coffee, esp when served at home.

  26. Lars (the original one) says:

    The Norwegian Greek / Turkish yoghurt thing is the same in Denmark — I think this is ultimately because of EU rules about protected names. It used to be that Danish dairies made ‘Feta’ cheese but then Greece claimed the name so the Danish product had to be called something else (‘Salad cheese’ is popular) — and just calling something ‘Greek’ when it’s produced in Denmark or Turkey is probably prohibited by a neighboring clause. (But calling it Turkish when produced in Denmark is probably OK as long as the negotiations with Turkey are kept on ice to pacify assorted right-wing factions).

    So depending on shop and budget, you can get practically identical products called Greek, Turkish or ‘Greek Inspired’ made in Denmark with imported lactobacillus strains. However, the latter designation can also cover products that aren’t drained but have been thickened with cornstarch, at least according to detractors on the internet.

    The old wrinkled men caused another ruckus — at one point it turned out that the gentleman depicted on one importer’s buckets of Turkish yoghurt was actually Greek, and he was not amused when some busybody told him about it. So they had to find an old wrinkled Turk to put on the next batch.

  27. J.W. Brewer says:

    An old-timey amusement park in the Pittsburgh area has a bunch of ethnicity-specific “Heritage Days” each year, such as Italian Day, Serbian Day, Croatian Day (although apparently not Bosnian Day …), etc. My favorite is Byzantine Day, observed since 1921. As I understand it, in context that is transparently understood to be aimed at a target audience of ethnic Ruthenians (alias Rusyns, Lemkos, etc etc etc), who are predominantly members of a “Uniate” (apparently now thought pejorative in some quarters) jurisdiction known in the U.S. as the Byzantine Catholic Church. Not sure if “Byzantine coffee” made it as far north as the Carpathians …

    https://www.kennywood.com/sites/kennywood.com/files/2019%20Kennywood%20Ethnic%20Heritage%20Days_0.pdf

  28. John Cowan says:

    “Oriental Orthodox” is specific to English. Russians use the term “Ancient Orthodox”; Greeks simply use “infamous heretics”. 🙂

    All of which is better than “Non-Chalcedonian but Ephesian”.

  29. AJP Crown says:

    Lars, I like Greek Inspired. I could see using that on all sorts of neoclassical buildings. Like most EU things I’m unsure if the rules apply to dairy products here. I think I’ve seen Danish feta. That’s very funny about the wrinkled man. I missed that. I’ve always thought the Turkish-outfitted man should be selling fish rather than yoghurt, but you only have to look at Portuguese sardines to see that who sells what is clearly a cultural thing.

  30. Swiss cheese is something resembling what Swiss themselves call Emmentaler (it has holes in it, duh!, there is an absolutely hilarious Russian comedy sketch about those holes). Obviously, no one asked the Swiss whether they agree with it or not. Despite that, there are rules (at least in US of A) what someone can and can’t call “Swiss cheese”. Some years ago the rules were updated to accommodate some production process that changed (you betcha) the size of the holes or their distribution or something. In a news program that informed me about the aforementioned developments some real life Swiss cheese person asked whether they agree with the change or not. The only reasonable answer to that was that given that the Swiss cheese produced by the old process was nothing of the kind anyway, there is no sense to have an opinion on the new one. And (I know you anticipated it) the Swiss cheese person gave exactly that answer.

  31. Armenian Orthodox: again according to my experience in Lebanon, they are called that way there in order to distinguish them from the Armenian Catholics, who follow the Armenian rites but are in union with the Catholic church. Due to 19th century activities of the Catholic church in the Middle East trying to bring errant sheep into the fold of the mother Church, almost every Christian denomination there seems to exist in a Catholic and a Non-Catholic variety. It wouldn’t astonish me if there were Lutheran Catholics and Calvinist Catholics out there somewhere in the region. 😉

  32. Lars (the original one) says:

    One of the stumbling blocks for a trade agreement between the EU and the EEUU Mexicanos is Manchego cheese — there’s a Spanish one made from sheep’s milk and a Mexican one that is nothing like it, and the EU wants the EEUU to stop using the name when exporting to the US because the Usonians get confused and are not prepared to pay luxury prices for the Spanish product when there’s a much cheaper one in the next cooler compartment. But the EEUU say they were there first.

    Danish dairies used to produce dansk schweizerost too, but that specific type is called Samsø now. That changes dates to before EU rules, I think, it was probably a branding campaign to stress the national ‘nature’ of the product; several other types of cheese that started as Danish variants of popular imported ones have had their designations changed that way.

  33. AJP Crown says:

    It wouldn’t astonish me if there were Lutheran Catholics and Calvinist Catholics out there somewhere in the region.
    You mean the Romans.

    Small-c catholic means: including a wide variety of things; all-embracing: “her tastes are pretty catholic”. And according to the circumstances big-C Catholic can mean:

    Catholic
    adjective
    • of the Roman Catholic faith.
    • of or including all Christians.
    • relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church: “the Church of England must not compromise its Catholic principles”.

  34. That’s how Russian Orthodox Church called itself. Various self-appellations the Russian Church used:

    Pravoslavnaya kafolicheskaya greko-rossiyskaya tserkov’ (Orthodox Catholic Greek-Russian Church)
    Rossiyskaya Tserkov’ (Russian Church)
    Russkaya Tserkov’ (Russian Church)
    Rossiyskaya Pravoslavnaya Tserkov’ (Russian Orthodox Church)
    Rossiyskaya Pravoslavnaya kafolicheskaya Tserkov’ (Russian Orthodox Catholic Church)
    Greko-Rossiyskaya Tserkov’ (Greek-Russian Church)
    Pravoslavnaya Greko-rossiyskaya Tserkov’ (Orthodox Greek-Russian Church)
    Rossiyskaya Vostochno-pravoslavnaya Tserkov’ (Russian Oriental-Orthodox Church)
    Rossiyskaya Tserkov’ grecheskogo zakona (Russian Church of Greek rite)

  35. David Marjanović says:

    It wouldn’t astonish me if there were Lutheran Catholics and Calvinist Catholics out there somewhere in the region. 😉

    There are Anglican-rite Catholics (complete with the Book of Common Prayer) in England, where a whole parish converted some 15 years ago.

  36. Strictly speaking, Anglican Church can be considered an Orthodox Church – everything just like in the Catholic Church, but without the Pope.

    That’s essentially what any Orthodox Church is. (in the past, there were other issues, like use of Latin as liturgical language, but now, all Catholics need to do is to reject the Pope and they automatically become Orthodox)

  37. AJP Crown says:

    all Catholics need to do is to reject the Pope

    I know! Simples, right?

  38. What’s the EEUU? To me it’s an abbreviation for “Estados Unidos.”

  39. That’s exactly what it is; Lars’s “EEUU Mexicanos” = Mexico.

  40. Estados Unidos Mexicanos (Mexican United States) – that’s the official name of the country since 1824.

  41. Yup.

  42. AJP Crown says:

    Good heavens, I’m completely confused! If they’re both United States and both are in America, then the United States of America ought to change its name to some of the United States of America. But that might also mean, for example, the states in New England…

  43. A Collection of States in a Northerly Portion of the American Continent, aka ACSNPAC.

  44. Russians and Poles used to call this country United States of North America.

  45. In fact, that was how it was called in Mongolian too.

    I remember discussion with Bathrobe about some old Mongolian dictionary here on LH.

  46. Of course, while this appellation is more precise, nevertheless it doesn’t deal with the issue of Mexico – it’s situated in North America too.

  47. Lars (the original one) says:

    Logic be damned, norteamericano is used synonymously with estadounidense and neither encompasses mexicano. Even in México, I believe, but I haven’t asked my informant.

    (Diccionario panhispánico de dudas: Tanto América del Norte como Norteamérica son designaciones correctas del subcontinente americano que engloba el conjunto de países situados al norte de México y al propio México […] El uso de Norteamérica como sinónimo de Estados Unidos de América está bastante generalizado).

  48. @Lars: Norteamericano would cover a Canadian as well, although the Canucks are less salient for obvious reasons.

  49. AJP Crown says:

    A Collection of States in a Northerly Portion of the American Continent, But Except For Alaska Not As Far North As Canada aka ACSNPACBEFANAFNAC

    The Supreme Court of ACSNPACBEFANAFNAC can decide if this was the name intended by Jefferson & co.

    A CSN pac,
    Bef a naf nac…

    I think there may be song in this.

  50. David Marjanović says:

    That’s essentially what any Orthodox Church is. (in the past, there were other issues, like

    …a few theological ones, though the whole filioque business is rather quietly passed over nowadays. Likewise, Benedict XVI’s hope that the whole Anglican Church might follow the example of that one parish was dashed when someone pointed out that “there’s been a Reformation” that Anglican theology follows at least in part.

    the name intended by Jefferson & co.

    One of them wanted Columbia. They waited too long – probably because Columbus never went there in the first place (though that didn’t stop Chemnitz from being called Karl-Marx-Stadt for a few decades).

  51. Salt River Bay National Historic Park …. on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands …. contains the Columbus Landing Site, a National Historic Landmark that is the only known site where members of a Columbus expedition set foot on what is now United States territory.

  52. Though the islands were Danish when Jefferson was choosing the country’s name.

    {thinking} maybe that’s why they purchased the islands from Denmark, to get something which would give United States some connection with historical Columbus who plays such an important role in the US mythology (despite having never set foot on US territory before 1917).

  53. John Cowan says:

    Strictly speaking, Anglican Church can be considered an Orthodox Church

    By no means. The Anglican Communion is still full of Romanisms, including the Latin style of crossing oneself, the Filioque clause, and all kinds of other things. There are in fact Western Orthodox churches that use an Anglican rite, but the Romanisms have been removed.

    As far as I know there is not a single Christian particular church that has not schismed into with-the-Pope and not-with-the-Pope factions, with the exception of the Maronite Church, who claim that they have always been in communion with Rome even when physically cut off from it from the 7C to the 12C. The Latin Church itself has had such a schism, even if you leave the Protestants out of it: the Old Latin churches who abandoned Rome after the declaration of papal infallibility in 1870.

    So there are a lot of definitely “Eastern” churches using Byzantine or Syrian or whatever rites (which is more than just the language) and whose theology is Orthodox or non-Chalcedonian or even non-Ephesian that are in full communion with the Catholic Church. Indeed, on those occasions when the Pope says the Creed in Greek, he omits the Filioque.

    Indeed, the Melkite Catholic Church (who use the Byzantine rite, as opposed to the Maronites who use the West Syriac rite) defied the Great Schism and remained in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch right up to 1929. Papal infallibility was tough for them: they argued against it at Vatican I and only signed it afterwards, with an explicit reservation of the Eastern Patriarchs’ authority.

  54. January First-of-May says:

    despite having never set foot on US territory before 1917

    …before 1904, possibly, depending on some specific details of “set foot on” and “US territory”. (His expedition stayed in what was to become the Panama Canal Zone around New Year of 1503.)

  55. I didn’t know that Columbus was still alive in 1904 (or 1917)… 😉 Did someone notify the Guinness book editors already?

  56. Apparently the US Virgin Islands people don’t know history that well. Because on November 19, 1493 Columbus did set foot on US territory and it was Puerto Rico (US territory since 1898).

  57. AJP Crown says:

    Denmark, or what is now United States territory

    Give them an inch. Just don’t call them colonies.

  58. January First-of-May says:

    Apparently the US Virgin Islands people don’t know history that well. Because on November 19, 1493 Columbus did set foot on US territory and it was Puerto Rico (US territory since 1898).

    …I darn well should have thought of Puerto Rico (which does push the date back to 1898) instead of spending a hour looking up if he ever landed in the Panama Canal Zone.

  59. Is it modern day equivalent of “selling the Brooklyn bridge”?

  60. Somewhere in the late 20th century, an American Episcopal trial prayerbook dropped the Filioque. It was quickly restored in the next revision, presumably after a collective, if genteel, WTF.

  61. Lars (the original one) says:

    That Guardian article makes it sound like The Donald wants to buy Greenland for his personal collection… I don’t think the US Air Force will appreciate having a failed property magnate as owner of the land their base is located on.

    I don’t know if there has been an official Danish reaction yet, and I guess there won’t be since there has been no official US bid on the territory, but Danish politicians have not failed to weigh in. “If we didn’t know he was a maniac before…” is the general consensus. Also that we don’t go around selling pieces of land with people living on them, unlike in 1917.

  62. John Cowan says:

    I’m just waiting for Norway to redeem the pledge made for Margaret’s dowry back in 1469 (all they need is 210 kg of gold, about NOK 61MM at present) and reclaim Shetland and Orkney. The effort has been made many times, but the Crown of Scotland has always scurvily dodged (without actually denying) its obligation to surrender the pledge on proffer of repayment.

  63. I think we discussed it before – when United States offers to buy land from you, it’s an offer you can’t refuse.

    It’s basically, “here is seven million dollars, take it or you will lose this land for nothing”.

    So, I predict we will find out soon that Denmark has been very unfair to the US exporters and some YUGE tariffs will be imposed on Danish butter and bacon

  64. Lars (the original one) says:

    A claim was circulating on Facebook that Denmark could have got the Virgin Islands back in 2017 for the same 25 million dollars (or probably the 1917-equivalent in gold), since the diplomatic warrant (not the treaty itself) was endorsed with a redemption clause that could be invoked after one hundred years.

    This turned out to be an April Fool’s joke — of course that fact was lost on the Facebook posters but I just now found the original article in a popular science and history magazine, complete with doctored photo. (The image in the National Archives differs, of course).

  65. AJP Crown says:

    Sheiks In Kilts. Shetland & Orkney nationalists want independence from Scotland so they can spend the oil and gas money that goes to Edinburgh.

  66. Same urban legend exists regarding Alaska purchase. Another legend says Russian treasury didn’t receive the payment, but the available documents show that proceeds from sale of Alaska were spent on equipment and machinery for several railways being built at the time in Russia: Kursk-Kiev, Ryazan-Kozlov, Moscow-Ryazan and others.

    Of course, these railways were vastly more useful for the Russian economy and ordinary people than Alaska colony ever was.

  67. AJP Crown says:

    I don’t know why the Americans even wanted Alaska. It should really be part of Canada. If they want to keep a nice round 50 states, they can subdivide one into N & S California. And then it’s just Vivre les îles Sandwich libres!

  68. John Cowan says:

    “here is seven million dollars, take it or you will lose this land for nothing”

    And as I pointed out before, while the U.S. has behaved like that, it hasn’t always done so. The U.S. defeated Mexico completely in the war of 1846-47, including occupying its capital. Yet in the peace treaty the U.S. not only paid for the lands it had stolen, but a substantial indemnity as well. It also guaranteed Mexican property rights (not always respected by locals later on) in the newly annexed territory and provided its occupants the choice of full American citizenship, permanent-resident status as Mexican citizens, or repatriation, at a time when not everyone born in the U.S. was a citizen or even a legal person. Finally, the U.S. assumed the debts of Mexico to U.S. citizens in full, to be paid out of general revenues and not taxes imposed on the annexed area. As far as I know, no conqueror had ever done any of that before.

    [Alaska] should really be part of Canada.

    That was precisely what Alexander II did not want, a hostile British Empire (still playing the Great Game) just 55 miles off his shores (discounting for the moment the tiny Diomede Islands, where the international border runs through a strait only 2 miles wide that freezes over in winter). Selling it to the U.S. would bring in badly needed money and get rid of an asset whose value was somewhere between dubious and negative (neither gold nor oil having been discovered yet) if he had to defend it, but in a safe sort of way.

    The Emperor’s first offer was made just before the U.S. Civil War, so it was only taken up seriously in 1865. Secretary of State William Seward was a fanatical believer in U.S. expansion who dragged the President and Congress behind him eventually. The price was certainly right: 2 cents an acre (30 cents an acre or 74 cents a hectare in modern terms). In addition, Canada was still very much part of The Enemy from a U.S. perspective: U.S. citizens (though not their government) had attempted to invade Canada only the year before, and would do so again a few years later. Relations between the U.S. and Russia were generally good, as they would remain until the 1920s.

    One universe away, where there are eight countries north of the Rio Grande (Alyaska, Oregon, Alta California, Montrei, Louisianne, Tejas, the North American League, and Nouvelle-France), Alyaska has been independent since 1917 and thinks of itself as the surviving part of liberal 19C Russia, never oppressed under the White yoke that ruled Russia proper (and much of Eastern Europe) as a fascist dictatorship in the name of a nonexistent Tsar (sort of like interwar Hungary in our timeline). It is strongly Orthodox, however; throughout the New World, Orthodox Christianity has become the religion of choice for Native groups who see the Roman Church and its Protestant offshoots as part of the Newcomer ascendancy; 80-90% of Orthodox church members south of the Rio Grande are Natives. The autocephaly of the Orthodox Church of America is heavily contested by the Russian Patriarchy.

  69. Lars (the original one) says:

    Well, Danes prefer their chocolate with chocolate in it, and their beef with no hormones in it, and have the presumption to allow a unified healthcare system to negotiate prices with medical firms and keep an anti-monopoly law with real teeth on the books. Much unfair, so sad!

    Honestly we’re more worried about the British economy tanking so they can’t afford to buy our butter and bacon, never mind the tariffs.

  70. Regarding the Klondike Gold Rush—which was what really made Alaska economically useful—I found this description from the second sentence (the third if you count the epigram) of The Call of the Wild extremely evocative:

    Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland.

  71. As far as I know, no conqueror had ever done any of that before.

    Paying money for land conquered is pretty standard European practice.

    For example, in 1721 Russia paid 2 million silver thaler to Sweden in compensation for Russian conquest of Swedish Latvia and Estonia in the Great Northern War.

  72. Trond Engen says:

    John C.: I’m just waiting for Norway to redeem the pledge made for Margaret’s dowry back in 1469 (all they need is 210 kg of gold, about NOK 61MM at present) and reclaim Shetland and Orkney.

    The unpaid dowry was a way for Denmark-Norway and Scotland to solve an age-old problem without a war. For “Norway” the islands were already lost — to the degree that you can lose something you never really had; the earls of Orkney always played both sides, they married into Scottish nobility and got involved in Scottish politics, and Scottish-born cousins inherited the title. By 1469 the islands had been under Scottish influence, economically and politically, for centuries. For Scotland this was a way to curb the bothersome semi-independency that allowed whichever Scottish nobleman who currently held the earldom to be a political player on par with the king.

  73. John Cowan says:

    1721 Russia paid 2 million silver thaler to Sweden

    True, though the Great Northern War was more about dismembering Sweden’s colonial empire than, say, seizing and annexing all of Norrland (the northern third of Sweden) north of Umeå and settling it with Russians.

  74. I don’t think anyone in the Northern wars thought along the lines of “dismembering Sweden’s colonial empire” – all participants saw territories they wanted and took what they could get, and didn’t care whether that was “core Sweden” or “colonial possession”. Russia wanted more access to the Baltic. Russia was certainly also interested in diminishing the threat from a serious rival in the region. If Russia could have got the Northern third of Sweden at that point, it would perhaps even taken it; that just wasn’t on the cards with the borders and fronts and the military situation at the end of the war.

  75. Russia wanted more access to the Baltic.

    This is not even exactly true. Russia used to have access to the Baltic for centuries, but Sweden took it away during Russia’s Time of Troubles. Russia tried to retake it forty years later, failed and then tried again after another forty years.

    And won (taking Latvia and Estonia as a bonus).

    Not just poking the Russian Bear, but closing the exit from his lair.

    Really stupid, but then the entire Sweden as a Great Power idea was not exactly bright.

  76. Same was true for all Swedish enemies.

    For example, Denmark didn’t attack Sweden in 1700, because it was greedy or expansionist, the Danes simply wanted back their province of Scania (annexed by Sweden in 1659, Denmark fought to retake it twenty six years later, failed and tried again after another twenty one years).

    Maybe it made sense at the time to bully Denmark or small German principalities or Poland or Russia, but eventually Sweden ended up making enemy of every single neighbor it had.

  77. John Cowan says:

    Sweden had been able to repel all attacks on “core Sweden”, which were few and late, and held on to East Denmark (except Bornholm) and Finland (including western Karelia) in the final peace treaty as well as the pre-imperial territory. If Russia or one of the allies had demanded any of that, Sweden might well have fought on, for it would have been no longer merely an imperial war but an existential one. Most of the threat came from Sweden’s North German and East Baltic possessions, and those are exactly what was lost.

  78. AJP Crown says:

    extremely evocative: Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness,

    Yes, it evokes people who don’t mind using a cliché to support their cluelessness about life in the Arctic. (And I’m sorry for the rudeness, it isn’t directed at you.) He’d have been better off mentioning the midges.

  79. AJP Crown says:

    the entire Sweden as a Great Power idea was not exactly bright

    Really? You must be talking about the Great Northern War (about which I don’t know much) with ‘not bright’, because Sweden lasted as a GP for about 100 years (like the US now), and if Sweden hadn’t been the one semi-successful combatant in the Thirty Years’ War the whole of western Europe (+ British colonies like Australia, America etc.) would be Roman Catholic. It seems bright to me. And in the long term, there are few countries in better shape than Sweden now.

  80. @AJP Crown: I don’t know if the boreal darkness was a cliche at the time he was writing (the first decade of the twentieth century), and there are plenty of reasons that people dislike Jack London’s writing style. However, he really did spend the winter of 1897–1898 in Dawson City, Yukon, as a participant in the Klondike Gold Rush.

  81. I can only point out that Sweden became significantly smaller as a result of its Great Power career.

    Compare the map of Sweden in 1600 and Sweden now.

  82. PlasticPaddy says:

    1. I am somewhat puzzled (to put it mildly) that the 30 years war is still seen by others than perhaps Northern Ireland Unionists as having brought benefits to balance the appalling loss of life, and note that the Swedish “semi-success” would not have been possible without support from the Catholic French.
    2. The only multi-ethnic state in Europe that survived the 19th century and the 1st world war without repartitioning is Switzerland. Finland was never a great power but lost Karelia, which I think would be on a par with Sweden losing its northern third.

  83. AJP Crown says:

    Sweden became significantly smaller as a result of its Great Power career.
    Size isn’t everything.

    You don’t have to be Northern Irish to not want the entire western world to have been dominated by the RC church. I never said the benefits balanced the death, misery & disease of the Thirty Years’ War, and that’s because it’s well known to have been the most disastrous in the history of western Europe, including the world wars, so you can save your mock somewhat-puzzlement, Mr O’Plastic.

  84. So it was all just for glory?

    Can’t argue with that. 😉

  85. PlasticPaddy says:

    @AJP Crown
    Sorry about the word “balance”. I considered “offset” and “mitigate”.
    I personally am unconvinced that Churches have dominated states (except openly theocratic ones, and even then, there is always a threat of rebellion). If so, why did France not join with Austria against Sweden? I suppose you therefore mean dominate in the sense of influencing public spending or legislation on issues relating to Church teachings or interests (where these do not conflict with Realpolitik). As a Southern Prod (we do exist☺), I could agree that states with a Protestant ethos place more emphasis on rules, openness, etc. But maybe states with a Roman Catholic ethos place more emphasis on charity, solidarity, etc. So I am not sure which “domination” is to be preferred and think it may be up to the individual to choose and for legislators to seek to legislate in the common interest whilst considering the needs of people with a different ethos.

  86. Well said.

  87. AJP Crown says:

    No, Ireland is a complete strawman in a discussion of the 30 yrs war. You might as well compare Israel to Mesopotamia. There are one or two intersecting lines but the subject of Israel or Ireland is such a can o’ worms that you’re immediately thrust into something else. I’m not going to discuss France, it’s too complicated, but it was by no means inevitable that it would be Catholic. And of course I’m talking about what happened in the 17C not what’s happening now.

  88. AJP Crown says:

    Oh, and I’m neither a Prod nor a Catholic nor Irish but I did enjoy the first series of Derry Girls.

  89. I’m not going to discuss France, it’s too complicated, but it was by no means inevitable that it would be Catholic.

    Dostoevsky kept ranting about how France was the eternal stronghold of the Pope and would stop at nothing to bring about the universal domination of Rome. And this was in the 1870s!

  90. Swedish imperialism brought nothing but misery to the peoples of Germany, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Russia. (and I would say to the people of Sweden itself)

    Sweden as a Great Power was a nasty little aggressive militaristic state, kind of mini-Prussia. Sweden’s might was destroyed by Peter the Great, so they never grew up to the size needed to unite Germany and cause two world wars.

    Good riddance.

  91. John Cowan says:

    In other words, after France had withdrawn the troops that protected Rome (more diplomatically than militarily) against the Kingdom of Italy. To be sure, France needed those troops for the Prussian war, but the immediately preceding declaration of papal infallibility definitely annoyed the French government as well.

    As for the Thirty Years War, of course it was appallingly wasteful and destructive even as wars go, but I will say this: no Battle of Breitenfeld = no Peace of Westphalia = no modern world. French money and Gustavus’s mercenaries gave the Protestant cause military credibility in the same way that Yorktown did for the American cause. On the other hand, I don’t for a moment believe that even a complete Habsburg victory would have affected Protestantism in Britain and America very much. Though certainly not intended to do so, Breitenfeld did indeed strike a blow for freedom of belief (against the Church, not so much against the state), if not for the whole world, at least for Western Europe.

  92. AJP Crown says:

    Well exactly, the 1870s. 200 years after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the first official proclamation of religious toleration in Europe. Until it was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685 (that’s forty years after the Thirty Years’ War ended), France was no more certain to remain Catholic than England Protestant.

    The 30 Yrs War, we’re talking about the first half of the 1600s and Cardinal Richelieu. He had one goal: standing up to the Habsburgs in Spain & Austria. And centralising power in France – two goals. Standing up to the Habsburgs, centralising power and suppressing the nobility. Three. Three goals.

    Enough of that.

  93. John Cowan says:

    In France, tolerance was a royal (and later an imperial) policy rather than a popular one. If the French Revolution had arrived on schedule with France still 10% Huguenot instead of nearly zero, Protestants would have gained civil rights along with Jews, but they would still be very much the victims of popular prejudice. The French wars of religion (1562-98) were the second bloodiest conflict in European history after the 30YW (even bloodier relative to the size of the population) and even more drawn out. They ended with the coronation of France’s first and only Huguenot monarch, and he had to convert to do it (“Paris is worth a mass”). The Edict of Nantes was his personal policy, as the revocation was Louis XIV’s.

  94. David Marjanović says:

    the immediately preceding declaration of papal infallibility definitely annoyed the French government as well

    Indeed, that declaration appears to have been intended to end Gallicanism forever.

  95. A great deal is made out of Henri IV converting to Catholicism to take the throne. Yet while he had fought those Wars of Religion on the Calvinist side, Henri also had a long history of sectarian flexibility. It usually goes unmentioned that when he converted in 1589, that was arguably his fourth conversion.

  96. Trond Engen says:

    Great European wars weren’t fought with a Catholic and a Protestant side. There were wars with the Pope and the Emperor on one side, but France always supported the opposition to the Hapsburgs, either military or financially. There’s a reason that Russia and the Ottoman Empire were both long-lasting allies of France. Dostoyvskiy must have felt that French support to the Ottomans in the Crimean War was reason enough to rewrite history.

    It wasn’t a given that Sweden would turn Protestant either. They kept their options open for a long time.

  97. Russia and France traditionally were enemies.

    Because France traditionally supported Russian enemies – Poland and Ottoman empire and Russia supported Austrian Habsburgs – traditional enemies of France (since Austria opposed Poland and fought Turks and was regarded as natural ally of Russia).

    The only time when Russia and France were allies was the Seven Years War and it happened as a result of strange realignment called “Diplomatic Revolution”. And, of course, in two world wars, because of Germany.

  98. Trond Engen says:

    I agree that long-lasting was a stretch, but I read more than a tad of hurt nationalist feelings in Dostoyevsky’s invocation of the pope. As long as there was a Poland, France supported Poland, and Russia and Austria-Hungary were generally allies. With Poland gone, Russia and France were natural allies, but it took some time to realize. Napoleon’s empire was too strong and the revolution too threatening for the monarchies for natural alliances to apply (except locally, as in the Baltic).

  99. France and Russia were only natural allies against Germany.

    But there was no Germany before 1871, so no alliance.

    * Russo-French alliance against Britain never worked out either. For Russia, Britain, being an island, was never a threat. But France was.

  100. David Marjanović says:

    Austria opposed Poland and fought Turks

    Not so much both at the same time, though – it was Jan III Sobieski’s army that ended the Second Siege of Vienna in 1683.

  101. Trond Engen says:

    PlasticPaddy: I could agree that states with a Protestant ethos place more emphasis on rules, openness, etc. But maybe states with a Roman Catholic ethos place more emphasis on charity, solidarity, etc.

    Counterpoint: The Nordic welfare state. And now that I think of it:

    SFReader: Sweden as a Great Power was a nasty little aggressive militaristic state, kind of mini-Prussia.

    Oh, yes. But innovations in Swedish administration made to streamline society for military performance arguably ended up laying the foundations for the Swedish welfare state and the mixed economy.

  102. That’s the hell of it — so much useful innovation has come out of war. Which doesn’t justify war!

  103. PlasticPaddy says:

    @Trond
    You are quite correct that European states with a (former) Protestant ethos seem to have somewhat of an “edge” in progressive social legislation, including provision for payments to “the deserving poor”. This does not seem to generalise to the Americas ☺. I nevertheless have the feeling that recipients of social welfare feel more marginalised in Scandinavia than in Southern Europe (where there is less of a social net, so recipients depend partly on Church or private charity) . I do not know if this is accurate, but I read the novel “the hundred year old man…” and the title figure was sterilised as part of his social welfare and prison rehabilitation package ☺

  104. Lars (the original one) says:

    Eugenics was a thing in Scandinavia during the thirties and forties, and under a 1941 Swedish law you could be sterilized for being ‘asocial’. If the protagonist was 100 years old when the book came out in 2009 that could well have happened to him when he was in his thirties, at the height of the law’s application. It’s not on the books since 1976.

    There was (and is) a strong disapproval of ‘being a burden on society’ in at least Danish morals, nowadays mainly if it’s seen as the result of bad morals in the delinquent (as opposed to developmental problems, for instance), but between the wars the ‘mentally weak’ got sterilized here too.

  105. AJP Crown says:

    I nevertheless have the feeling that recipients of social welfare feel more marginalised in Scandinavia than in Southern Europe

    Refugees from Syria and immigrants from Africa certainly seem to get treated like shit in southern Europe. I disagree with Lars, at least about Norway. People here are way less judgemental about income, work & social status than they are in any other first-world country I know. That includes immigrants (almost the only poor people) and there are fewer comments about ‘why don’t these people get proper jobs’.

    As for sterilisation, don’t forget before he killed himself Alan Turing was chemically castrated in England in 1953ish for being gay, so I’m not casting stones about eugenics. I doubt Ireland was any more enlightened back then but I don’t know any details.

  106. Lars (the original one) says:

    I was only addressing the current morality in Denmark, sorry if that was unclear. I take your word for the situation in Norway, and while Sweden has its share of non-inclusion I think it’s based on different ideas.

    However, all three Scandinavian countries did support racial hygiene ideas during at least some of the interval 1920 to 1950. (I didn’t check Finland).

  107. PlasticPaddy says:

    My point is that normal states and societies (normal = “rule of law”/ Rechtstaat) with a Protestant ethos seem to differ from their Roman Catholic cousins more in degree and emphasis than in substance, and that the religious ethos influences rather than dominates the state. I am not convinced that any one state or society is better or treats marginal groups or troublesome individuals more equably. Even if I could point to such a state or society, I think it would be impossible to attribute the difference to the prevailing religious ethos of the (founding or current) population. I concede that at the time of the 30 Years War the world and its potential future appeared different.

  108. AJP Crown says:

    You mustn’t judge the past by the standards of today. That’s a fairly obvious tenet of historiography and yet nearly every non-historian seems happy to do it nowadays. The term Eugenics was coined by an Englishman, Francis Galton a cousin of Darwin’s. He had no idea where it was going to lead and there were no Nazis back in 1883. In terms of the history of Eugenics, Scandinavia is probably irrelevant. Cross it off your list of things to feel guilty about, Lars.

    Some of British socialism’s most celebrated names were among the champions of eugenics – Sidney and Beatrice Webb (the founders of the Fabian Society), Harold Laski, John Maynard Keynes, even the New Statesman and the Manchester Guardian. They hoped that a eugenic approach could build up the strong section of the population and gradually remove the weak.

    https://www.newstatesman.com/society/2010/12/british-eugenics-disabled

  109. You mustn’t judge the past by the standards of today.

    Up to a point. I’m happy to judge mass murderers (say) by today’s standards, which existed at the time even if they weren’t as widespread. In general, statements about what we must and mustn’t do should be as hedged and conditional as other sorts of statements.

  110. Specifically, I have no patience for people who say we shouldn’t condemn 19th-century slaveholders because they were acting according to their own lights which were accepted by their own society (or, for that matter, for people who say we shouldn’t condemn societies that oppress women because they are acting according to their own lights and what right have we to judge, etc.).

  111. I think it was shown by British courts in late 18th century that the entire practice of slavery (with all accompanying evils) was actually illegal under existing laws of the time. It was allowed to happen only by conscious decision not to apply English law to black slaves.

    Slaveholders were breaking the law, they were criminals and they knew it. That’s why the more sophisticated slaveholders tried to invent new philosophical, legal or quasi-religious doctrines which would justify what they were doing.

  112. David Eddyshaw says:

    Francis Galton was well into “scientific” racism, as well as eugenics:

    http://galton.org/letters/africa-for-chinese/AfricaForTheChinese.htm

    While AJP is surely right in principle that it is foolish to judge the past by the standards of today, I don’t think the principle can be pushed as far as some might suggest. It’s not intrinsically impossible for whole societies or whole ages to go wrong, so that they contain a lot more immoral individuals than others. However, it does at least mean that those who transcend the immorality or bigotry accepted in their place or time deserve particular credit: when you reflect that a plainly good man like Chesterton was clearly antisemitic in the way that was frankly “normal” for his era, it makes it all the more striking that James Joyce so spectacularly wasn’t, for example.

  113. AJP Crown says:

    Specifically, I have no patience for people who say we shouldn’t condemn 19th-century slaveholders
    What Brett said, but also how about slaveholders in 5th century Greece? How about the pyramids? Should we boycott them?
    I have no qualms about pointing out that Jefferson’s slave quarters were quite different from the rest of Monticello, but how do you condemn Jefferson for it? Max Bond, my teacher at Columbia (quite famous architect, related to Julian) just pointed it out and said if you’re a black architect it colors your view of Monticello & U.Va. That sounds right, you’ve got to hang on to that perspective from the present day, but…
    Yes, I’m against slavery. Slavery very bad, always was. Now what? Is Jefferson a worse architect because of slavery? A worse statesman?

    when you reflect that a plainly good man like Chesterton was clearly antisemitic in the way that was frankly “normal” for his era, it makes it all the more striking that James Joyce so spectacularly wasn’t, for example.
    Yes, that’s the point. To bring nuance to the time not to prosthelytize about today.

  114. While AJP is surely right in principle that it is foolish to judge the past by the standards of today

    I disagree, and the rest of your comment contradicts that idea. It is foolish to apply the standards of today in their entirety, of course (“what idiots they were not to understand the latest discoveries of biology!”), but it is not at all foolish to apply basic standards of morality that may have been swept under the rug by a lot of people (as they still are today) but existed and were upheld by however small a minority of decent people. “Try not to hurt people unnecessarily” is not some crazy modern invention, still less “don’t kill people en masse.”

  115. David Eddyshaw says:

    There’s no reason to suppose that our own time and place are uniquely free of gross moral blind spots likely to be all too apparent to our neighbours or our descendants, come to that. One hopes they will be charitable.

  116. I have no qualms about pointing out that Jefferson’s slave quarters were quite different from the rest of Monticello, but how do you condemn Jefferson for it?

    For god’s sake, plenty of people condemned him at the time, and he himself knew and said it was wrong. Most of the Founding Fathers knew it was wrong and went through all sorts of contortions to try to explain why they didn’t just stop holding slaves; they tried to assure each other that this horrible institution would come to an end before too long. I don’t really understand your eagerness to exculpate him. Are you afraid that if we say he was wrong to be a slaveholder, we won’t read his brilliant writings? I, at least am quite capable of doing both, and I’ll bet you are too.

  117. There’s no reason to suppose that our own time and place are uniquely free of gross moral blind spots likely to be all too apparent to our neighbours or our descendants, come to that. One hopes they will be charitable.

    Why should they be? And frankly, most of our our gross moral blind spots are not actually blind spots at all; they are all too apparent to us, and we try to ignore or justify them the way Jefferson et al. did their slaveholding. Surely it is not news to say that people en masse do not live up to their own moral ideals.

  118. David Eddyshaw says:

    If examples readily occurred to us, they wouldn’t be blind spots. I know what you mean, but I’ve too much experience of my own powers of self-deception is such matters to be as sanguine as you about these things. I expect it’s the Calvinism …

  119. I’m not sanguine at all, just unwilling to say “We know not what we do” and let it go at that. And surely examples of our sins readily occur to us; see the constant breast-beating on op-ed pages and elsewhere about global warming, mass violence, sexual exploitation, etc. We are sinners all, as they say.

  120. To put it another way, I suspect that people who refuse to apply moral standards to the past don’t actually believe in moral standards at all.

  121. Mind you, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, and I don’t think less of anyone for disagreeing with me. I’m probably wrong about almost everything I think, judging by history. But I have strong opinions and am not averse to sharing them.

  122. Right now, I’m listening to Beethoven’s “Spring” sonata. If he was capable of writing such magical, lyrical music, why did he have to churn out bombastic symphonies that ruined music for most of the ensuing century? Another opinion!

  123. I’m fond of the seventh symphony. Even the notorious fifth has some delicate moments in it, once you get past the boom boom ba boom.

  124. What moral standards should we apply to the man who betrayed his king, launched a treasonous mutiny and had children with an unwilling dark-skinned woman?

    He may be a Founding Father to the nation he helped to create, but to the rest of the world, the moral verdict is quite obvious.

    I am talking, of course, about Fletcher Christian, master’s mate on HMS Bounty.

    Not about the man on two dollar banknote.

  125. Even the notorious fifth has some delicate moments in it, once you get past the boom boom ba boom.

    Yes, I would be much fonder of it if it were played as often as, say, Haydn’s Symphony No. 64, and had as much influence. Instead, it’s played every five minutes and every ambitious composer of the 19th century tried to out-boom boom ba boom it.

  126. AJP Crown says:

    every ambitious composer of the 19th century tried to out-boom boom ba boom it.

    Would that include Chopin, perchance? Schubert?

  127. Not ambitious enough. And Schubert was sadly infected by the boom boom ba boom, even if he didn’t succumb to it.

  128. Come to that, Chopin’s concertos are pretty boom boom ba boom-y. You’ll have to look harder for exceptions.

  129. David Eddyshaw says:

    An error refreshingly humann,
    Is mixing up Schubert and Schumann.
    To say which of the pair
    Wrote the Marche Militaire
    Requires quite unnatural acumann.

  130. David Marjanović says:

    I take the easy way out by hating individual personality traits, not whole people.

  131. David Eddyshaw says:

    Fine-grained hatred is definitely superior.

  132. AJP Crown says:

    If Beethoven, Schubert & Chopin are what you mean by boom boom ba boom, then I have no problem with boom boom ba boom.

    For me what sets off alarms
    Is the folk who confuse them with Brahms.

    Truth is I like Brahms too. Just as good as Haydn (though I’m not sure about this recording).

  133. Most people like boom boom ba boom, that’s why they play it all the time. Like I said, I don’t expect people to agree with me. Except my wife, she hates bombast too.

  134. @SFReader: Interestingly, the specific word “mutiny” instantly triggered the impression that you were talking about Christian, not Jefferson. I guess the name “Mutiny on the Bounty* is just that famous.

  135. how about slaveholders in 5th century Greece?

    I’m not the first to point out here (?) that Aristotle had to go out of his way to refute anti-slavery people in his own time.

  136. AJP Crown says:

    What moral standards should we apply to the man who betrayed his king, launched a treasonous mutiny and had children with an unwilling dark-skinned woman?

    Actually the Indian Mutiny is a better example of not being able to use contemporary moral standards (if you don’t buy QV as a king there’s also Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor, aka the King of Delhi). See the Historiography section in the Wiki article. Also:

    Incidents of rape allegedly committed by Indian rebels against European women and girls appalled the British public. These atrocities were often used to justify the British reaction to the rebellion. British newspapers printed various eyewitness accounts of the rape of English women and girls. One such account was published by The Times, regarding an incident where 48 English girls as young as 10 had been raped by Indian rebels in Delhi. Karl Marx criticized this story as false propaganda, and pointed out that the story was written by a clergyman in Bangalore, far from the events of the rebellion, with no evidence to support his allegation.[177] Individual incidents captured the public’s interest and were heavily reported by the press. One such incident was that of General Wheeler’s daughter Margaret being forced to live as her captor’s concubine, though this was reported to the Victorian public as Margaret killing her rapist then herself.[178] Another version of the story suggested that Margaret had been killed after her abductor had argued with his wife over her.

    “Prooove you were raped.” What would MeToo think of Marx, disgusting old bearded pervert.
    Click on the illustrations in both articles. They’re all really good.

  137. AJP Crown says:

    Not that it’s relevant to your excellent point but Aristotle is of course 4th Century. 🙂

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